(CNN) — The ball crunched from the Australian cricketer’s forearm. Soon after, a second windmill into Steve Smith’s throat just below his left ear — poleaxing the Aussie batsman.
Unflappable, unwavering and unflustered — as he was throughout this Ashes series — Smith had looked on course for tis third consecutive century Saturday before, beneath a murky, grey skies, England fast bowler Jofra Archer started to unsettle the 30-year-old Australian.
During a fiery spell which featured a delivery clocked at 96mph, both Archer and Smith went toe-to-toe enjoy a few heavyweight fighters at a contest that had viewers gripped.
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A race to become healthy
Scans later showed no fracture to Smith’s arm although the 92mph bouncer which cannoned to the Australian’s throat proven to have had a more lasting impact.
Back in the living area, Smith was initially put through routine evaluations by Australian staff doctor Richard Saw, and the batsman returned into the match on Saturday before finally being dismissed for 92.
Nevertheless, after the close of play on Saturday, Smith complained of migraines and has been then ruled from the remainder of the match on Sunday — even Marnus Labuschagne getting the first concussion substitute in a Test.
The third Test begins on Thursday in Leeds, but the 30-year-old Australian won’t be racing his return.
“It’s obviously a quick turnaround between Test matches,” Smith said on Sunday.
“I’m likely to be evaluated within the following five or six weeks, every day a couple of occasions, to see how I’m feeling and how I’m progressing.
“I am hopeful I will be available for this Exam game, but it is certainly up to the medical team and we’ll have discussions.
“It’s definitely an area of concern, concussion, and I need to be 100 percent fit. I’ve got to have the ability to train a couple of days outside and face fast bowling to make sure my reaction time is set up.”
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A dark reminder
The sight of the Australian batsmen lying prone on the ground was struck by a cricket ball brought back several upsetting remarks for Australian cricket.
At 2014, Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died aged 25, two days after being struck in the head with a ball when batting in a domestic game.
After Hughes’ horrible death, modifications were made to further protect batsmen, with stem guards designed and made optional for players to wear on their helmets.
After originally not feeling comfortable playing with the guards on his helmet,” Smith believes he may need to reconsider his position on them after this recent incident.
“I think I, along with a few different players in the team, find it a little bit different, embarrassing compared to what we are used to,” he said.
“I feel just a small bit claustrophobic as it is on. I feel as though I’m enclosed rather than overly comfortable.
“It is definitely something I need to probably have a look in and perhaps try from the baits and see if I could get a way to get comfortable with it.”
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The Right Choice
Research completed by Cricket Australia shows that postponed concussion — where symptoms do not develop until a few hours after the first blow — occur in approximately 30% of cases.
At the second Test at Lord’s, three players had been hit on the mind and Smith was the only player to endure a concussion.
And given just around 20% of mind influences in cricket lead to a concussion, Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia’s manager of sport medicine, believes removing a player from the game each time they had been struck at the head would be unnecessary.
“The fact is just about one in six or five mind affects wind up in concussion,” Kountouris stated in a media conference in Australia on Monday.
“When we pulled out every player who had a head effect, we’d be pulling out 80% of players that do not have a concussion and carrying them from the match. So that will be an overreaction.
“If you take a look at that match, there have been three other head impacts and just Steve needed a concussion.
“He didn’t have a concussion in the time (he was hit) so he was allowed to perform. When we took him out of this game, we’d have been leaving him out of this game for no reason other than that which we saw on the field.”
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Kountouris also stated that he was”100%” fulfilled by Dr. Saw’s treatment of Smith.
“In the close of the afternoon, our physician pulled him from day five of the Test match, that was a fairly critical part of the match,” he explained.
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“Our physician is an expert in his field, he is educated to pick up the little signs of concussion.
“(He) was brilliant. He did was according to the protocol, he had been very comprehensive, and we understand he’s very thorough. We’re 100% pleased with what happened over there.”
Australian lead the series 1-0.